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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Children’s Hospital is helping children feel at ease when they get the COVID-19 vaccine with the help of a four-legged healthcare worker.

Casey the chocolate lab is a full-time employee at St. Louis Children’s Hospital doing what no doctor or nurse can do.

“It made me more relaxed. It took my mind off the shot. It didn’t make me as worried,” said 9-year-old Dani Shetley.

Dani’s mom, Chris Shetley, said she was anxious about the experience.

“She’s been talking about this shot since last night. She’s nervous. She doesn’t like needles,” Chris said.

Casey is making friends among the 5 to 11-year-olds at the hospital’s COVID vaccine clinic.

“So, the dogs bring a sense of normalcy that’s not something you see every day at a doctor or hospital but when we have a dog here it lets them feel that this is not such a scary place,” said Tyler Robertson, a child life specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

The highly obedient, easy-going chocolate lab will sit right by kids when they get the shot.

Ten-year-old Connor High got his vaccine with Casey nearby.

“It was good. It took away lots of stress,” Connor said. “It just takes the pain away, so it doesn’t hurt that much.”

All pediatric vaccine clinics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital are by appointment. Visit to schedule an appointment.

Sometimes all it takes is a little shot of courage to get a shot of vaccine with help from a man’s or a child’s best friend.